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"Authors, editors and publishers all have ethical obligations with regard to the publication of the results of research. Authors have a duty to make publicly available the results of their research on human subjects and are accountable for the completeness and accuracy of their reports. They should adhere to accepted guidelines for ethical reporting. Negative and inconclusive as well as positive results should be published or otherwise made publicly available. Sources of funding, institutional affiliations and conflicts of interest should be declared in the publication. Reports of research not in accordance with the principles of this Declaration should not be accepted for publication."

Declaration of Helsinki - Ethical principles for medical research

Ethical research involves moral and legal considerations when undertaking research. These considerations can include:

  • Authorship

    Determining authorship of research papers can be complicated: who gets included and in what order? Because academic papers are integral to promotions, grants and recognition, conflicts can be avoided by discussing these issues among the research collaborators as the project begins.

  • Plagiarism

    Universities set standards for academic integrity. Being aware of how to avoid plagiarizing sources will help you achieve those standards.

  • Peer review

    A peer reviewer's responsibilities includes

    • Responsiveness
    • Competence
    • Impartiality
    • Confidentiality
    • Responsibility to the profession
  • Conflicts of interest

    Conflicts of interest can be either tangible, primarily financial, or intangible, involving academic activities and scholarship like the peer review process . They can lead to biases in research. Federal regulations require institutions establish standards and procedures to avoid conflicts of interest in the design, conduct, or reporting of research. Academic societies and associations have developed similar policies.

  • Human subject research

    Human subjects research (as defined and regulated by federal law and Virginia Tech policies) involves a systematic investigation, including research and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Examples of regulated human subjects research include: surveys, interviews, observations of activities or behaviors, exercise tests, blood collections, psychological or medical measurements or intervention, sensory responses to taste, smell, etc., and any research involving responses from people or access to records about people.

  • IACUC literature searching information

    Find information to help search for alternatives (aka the "3Rs") mandated by the Animal Welfare Act and required for IACUC protocols. The librarians listed on this page offer periodic workshops on how to effectively search resources, but you can also use this worksheet as a guide through the literature search process, and the National Agricultural Library's Animal Use Alternatives Thesaurus to generate additional search terms.

Ethical research resources